Cannabis case is withdrawn from jury
THREE-DAY TRIAL IS ABANDONED
A BRAY man had his case withdrawn from a jury recently as the trial entered the third day.
Shane Carton (24), 24 Wolfe Tone Square West, Bray was charged with possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Pinewood Close, Bray on November 12, 2008.
He denied the charges and on Wednesday state prosecutor Paul Murray, BL, said it was alleged that Carton was the passenger in a car that was stopped by gardai in Pinewood Close.
Garda Tom Bissett said he was carrying out surveillance at 6.20pm on the evening in question on Carton's house and he saw a car driven by Gary McNulty pull up at the house.
He said Carton came out of the house carrying a package in his right hand.
Under cross-examination from Carton's defense, Patrick Reynolds, BL, Garda Bissett said that during interview Carton had said he was returning from the chipper in Newtownmountkennedy when stopped by gardai.
Garda Bissett said ' the fact is he walked out of the house'.
The court heard Mr. McNulty was not charged in connection with the incident.
Garda Shay Ryan said he was contacted by Garda Bissett who informed him he had seen Carton leaving his house and Mr. McNulty's vehicle was followed by him until it came to a stop in Pinewood Close.
He said he spoke to Mr. McNulty and searched him. Nothing was found in the search he said.
Garda John Deasy said Carton had turned off his phone before being arrested and refused to turn it back on again.
He said Carton denied during interview that the phone contained any messages regarding drug dealing and said Carton had cannabis resin and some €3,000 cash when searched.
During interview Carton said he had saved the money over the course of five or six months and had also gotten a loan of €1,000 from a friend. Carton said he was working a 'few days here and there'.
Garda Deasy said Carton said during interview that he had been at the chipper that evening and intended using the money to pay some fines he had accrued.
During interview Carton also said 'I don't sell drugs' and denied any knowledge of the drugs in the car saying 'If I knew they were in the van I won't be there'.
Garda Jean Ennis said she had relabelled the drugs as a exhibit but conceded the relabelling didn't appear on official documentation.
Detective Garda Terence Toal said he had fingerprinted the drugs and found no fingerprints on the drugs.
Garda Jim Lennon said at the time of Carton's arrest he owed €1,250 in fines and the court heard these fines were paid on November 18.
In the absence of the jury Mr. Reynolds, BL, made an application regarding the chain of evidence in terms of the drugs.
Judge Michael O'Shea said 'I am satisfied that it (the chain) is weak or vague and hasn't been properly established. Accordingly I am satisfied that the case should be withdrawn from the jury on the basis that the chain of evidence hasn't been property established in law and is inherently weak and tenuous.'
He said his decision wasn't a criticism of anyone involved in the case.